Westminster Quietway plans represent a 1% improvement for cycling

William Street in Westminster - a planned Quietway route, but no plans to reduce parking or through motor traffic

Westminster City Council is currently consulting on its Quietway plans – but disappointingly, the proposals don’t offer much of an improvement for cycling in the borough.

Campaigners have done an evaluation of the Cycling Level of Service - Transport for London’s tool for assessing the quality of cycle provision - on one of the routes and found it represents an improvement of just 1% - from 38% to 39%. 

The route in question would run from Hyde Park to Belgravia, along William Street, Lowndes Square and Lowndes Street.

Colin Wing, coordinator of Westminster Cycling Campaign, has identified a number of reasons that the route doesn’t offer a higher Cycling Level of Service, including:

  • a failure to offer safe space for cycling at the junctions of Lowndes Square with Harriet Street and William Street; 
  • no specific cycle lane for northbound cyclists along most of William Street; 
  • the risk of collision with vehicles entering or leaving the echelon parking bays in Lowndes Square, and with vehicles parking on the east side of William Street and with opening doors. 

Other problems include the uneven surface on the east side of Lowndes Street and the capacity for cyclists at the crossing of Knightsbridge and the entry to the park at Albert Gate. The consultation does not include any proposals by TfL or the Royal Parks to increase capacity.

Westminster City Council propose to widen the substandard contraflow cycle lane in William Street from 1 metre to 1.5 metres. This would be an improvement on current conditions - leaving the contraflow cycle lane at its current width would constitute a critical failure for the Cycling Level of Service – but in order to increase the cycle lane and retain parking bays, Westminster Council proposes to narrow the west footway. Removing parking bays would mean space for cycling could be created without impacting pedestrians. 

The plans represent yet another cause for concern on the London-wide Quietways scheme, where a failure to restrict rat running motor traffic or provide safe and inviting space for cycling is an issue throughout the plans. Campaigners in Islington are currently petitioning the council to restrict through motor traffic on the planned Finsbury Park to Clerkenwell quietway.

LCC has asked Transport for London to provide Cycling Level of Service evaluations for all the planned Quietway routes.